What It Really Takes to Renovate an Old House

What It Really Takes to Renovate an Old House
  • Opening Intro -

    You've been looking through real estate listings for months, won your bidding war, and decided to close on the historical home you've always wanted.

    Now that you have the vintage home of your dreams, you may be wondering how to renovate the residence while still maintaining its charm.


Here are a few important things you need to know about what it actually takes to successfully remodel your house.

Research the Property

Learning about your home’s history can be interesting and fun. This process also makes it easier for you to make aesthetic and construction decisions for your property so you can avoid expensive mistakes.

Anik Pearson, an architect, remembers when his New York client wanted to add a pool to his basement. Pearson looked at the historical maps of the area and saw that there was a river underneath the property.

The residents poked a hole in the basement and the water was still there. Building a pool in the basement of this historical home would have been a huge mistake.

You can help with your home’s renovation process by doing some research before you hire any construction professionals. Look at some older maps from the historical society in your city or county.

You can search online through the U.S. Geological Survey as well and learn about the materials that are ideal for your home. It’s also helpful to visit a museum in your city so you can see homes and other buildings built in the same era as your home.

Professional Construction Services

You’ve likely seen lots of YouTube tutorials and home improvement shows giving you ideas and inspiration for your property renovations.

However, it’s best to call a professional when you’re ready to enhance your home. Keep in mind that construction mistakes can cost more to fix than the fee you’ll pay to an architect.

For instance, you shouldn’t try to strip or remove paint from your home. This process is safer in newer houses since modern paints don’t contain toxic substances like lead.

If you just want to apply a new coat of paint in your older home, you’ll likely be able to handle the task if you’ve done it before. However, if you don’t have much experience with home projects, you should hire a professional painter.

Updates for Current Features

Several older homeowners will refinish the original elements of their houses like the woodwork, or install replaces that is similar to the original. For example, you may want to use new scaffolding for the roof to prevent structural damage or leaks. However, if you want to maintain the character of your home, it’s important not to choose replacements that are too pristine.

painting suppliespaint sprayers

      some painting supplies ideas to consider      

Renovations that include brand new materials can look out of place with the rest of your home’s decor. It’s also important to remember that some materials used for reproduction don’t have the durability or quality of the original materials. This applies to several household appliances and fixtures, including flooring, woodwork, or cabinetry.

If you want to improve the look of your wooden floors, it’s best not to strip and re-stain the wood. Instead, you can treat the wood to keep it from decaying while keeping the original look of the floors. This helps you retain your home’s aesthetic appeal while keeping the house’s original character.

It’s also a good idea to keep original light fixtures and backsplash if possible. If you have wallpaper in the home or want to install wallpaper instead of pain, make sure you keep it intact with a clear coating. This keeps the wallpaper from peeling and allows you to maintain the integrity of the walls.

Non-Vinyl Windows

Older homes usually don’t have energy-efficient windows. If you’re thinking about replacing your drafty windows you should choose non-vinyl varieties. Wood windows are usually best for older homes.

other valuable tips:

While these are more expensive than windows made from vinyl or aluminum, the wood is worth the price because it can stay intact for about 100 years. Vinyl only lasts for a decade or two.

Talk to your window specialist about the best way to update your wooden windows. In many cases, you may just need to replace the putty. However, it’s best to leave this task to the professionals.

Once you’ve made the necessary renovations to your home, you may want to consider options for home technology as well. Home automation is a viable option since you don’t need to rewire your home or install devices that are difficult to hide.

For instance, you can keep your thermostat in the closet and use a sensor to adjust the settings. You can also find accents like light switches that work with modern connections but have a vintage design.

Keep these tips in mind when you’re preparing to renovate your home. Using the right materials and building methods can help you preserve your older home for years to come.

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Image credit: renovate an old house by Pixabay

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